Friday, October 31, 2014

Hospital settles Terp Claim

A teenage boy spent five hours in a Seattle area hospital without being provided a certified interpreter. Although an interpreter for his school came to help, the Justice department said Swedish Edmonds Hospital should have provided a medically trained and certified interpreter. The Department is requiring Swedish to review its policies related to the deaf, train staff members and give the boy's mother $3000. However, Swedish won't have admit any wrongdoing in the deal. Read the full story at MyEdmondsNews.

Deaf robber uses interpreter

It sounds like a joke from a deaf standup comedian. But it wasn't a joke--at least not for Laura Fairweather. A deaf man broke into her apartment in Scotland and demanded money--through an interpreter he brought with him. Now the man is headed to jail for more than a year. The BBC has more on the story here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of "Visible Language"

While Visible Language lacks a certain polish, and is in need of editing and focus.. it is an important and enlightening work of theater, and for those unfamiliar with the Deaf experience, it offers a good introduction to a whole new world. That's what Broadway World has to say about the production taking place now at Gallaudet University called Visible Language.  Read more of the review here.

Hearing Moms speak differently when one child is deaf

If a family has twins where one child is deaf and the other is hearing, the mother will speak differently to both of them. That's the finding of a new study out of Indiana University's School of Medicine. Researchers say the mother will speak slower, use fewer syllables and use shorter sentences. Details of the study are in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On this date in 2006

Eight years ago today: On Oct 29, 2006, Gallaudet University's board of trustees voted to revoke the appointment of incoming president Jane Fernandes following protests from students and faculty. Dick Kinney, an investment adviser from Milwaukee, later told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the board decided to commission a study to find who would meet three criteria: The candidate needed to have experience in higher education, an earned doctorate and significant hearing impairment. Only 27 people in the world fit all three criteria, he said. That’s part of why the board ended up going with an unpopular internal candidate, Gallaudet University provost Jane Fernandes who did not learn sign language until she was an adult. She now holds the same position at UNC Asheville. The trustees made Robert Davila interim president until 3 years later, when T. Alan Hurwitz took the position permanently. Hurwitz previously served as president of New York's National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New board members for RSD

There are four new members on the Rochester School for the Deaf board of directors.

  • Alum Judy Annis-Donovan who works as a medical technologist at Rochester General Hospital
  • Alum Lori DeWindt who is a psychotherapist at the Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester
  • Pediatrician Scott Smith who is also an assistant professor
  • Architect Philip Wise

Read more here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

25th Silent Sunday

The Arkansas School for the Deaf held it's 25th Silent Sunday Fundraiser in Little Rock hoping to raise more money to fund new technology equipment for the school. KARK-TV has a video report.

Terp video goes viral

A video has gone viral because of the interpreter at the New York Mayor's news conference on Ebola. Some viewers have speculated that the terp is a fake because his facial expressions are so animated. But Jonathan Lamberton is certified. He's just doing his job. The Friday news conference including Mayor Bill de Blasio and health officials regarded updates on the city’s first case of Ebola.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Suit: Hospital didn't provide terps

Denver's Rose Medical Center is facing a lawsuit that accuses the hospital of not providing qualified interpreters for deaf patients. Ronald Zapko and John Towery say a Video Relay Interpreter set up didn't do the job.Read more about the suit in the Denver Post here.

Gallaudet football feels the love

Even though Husson beat Gallaudet last weekend, the Bison football team got some attention for the passion the team plays with. Here's a video report from WCSH-TV.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Roller derby player files complaint

A roller derby player says she wasn't picked for a national team because she is deaf, reports New Zealand's TV3. Marcia Taylor is asking the national Human Rights Commission to look into why coach posted an offensive remark about her on Facebook. Read the story or watch a video report here. No captions.

Video of Deaf-Blind man pushed on railroad track

We told you yesterday about the deaf-blind man pushed on a railroad track. Two men are going to prison for the attack. Below is the security video of what happened in Chelmsford, England.

Speech vs Sign: Bell vs Gallaudet

A new musical opening tonight explores the conflict over teaching methods for the deaf between Alexander Graham Bell and Edward Gallaudet more than 100 years ago. Visible Language features a cast made up of deaf and hearing actors, and offers a combination of ASL and spoken English. Gallaudet was the first president of the college that bears his last name while Alexander Graham Bell is known for having invented the telephone. Gallaudet approved of sign language while Bell discouraged it in favor of lip reading and attempts at spoken English among the deaf. The musical hopes to get past traditional views in the deaf community of both men and let the facts speak for themselves. Visible Language can be seen now through November 16th at Gallaudet University's Gilbert C. Eastman Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. There's more information here. The video below shows construction of the set in time-lapse photography.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deaf-Blind man thrown on train tracks

"Two men have been sent to prison for throwing a deaf blind man and his brother on to railway tracks," reports the BBC. A detective says, "This is one of the most appalling incidents I have investigated." Read the story here.

Silence on the Grid Iron

El Paso's Burges High School junior varsity football team has three players who are deaf. KAMR-TV gives us a closer look at how it has affected the Mustangs. No captions but you can read part of the story here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tablet case as virtual interpreter

The makers of a tablet case claim it will recognize and translate sign, according to Wired Magazine.
MotionSavvy, an Alameda, California-based startup that’s developing a case for tablet computers that can serve as a virtual interpreter for the deaf. Known as UNI, the case uses gesture recognition technology developed by Leap Motion to translate sign language into audible speech. It then merges this with voice recognition technology to convert spoken word to text. Because there are a variety of signs for any given word, users can upload new signs using a feature called Sign Builder. The system learns how individual users sign, while also distributing each new sign to every UNI device.
However, Wired points out that UNI has a long way to go: It "recognizes only 300 signs, and its voice recognition component remains unreliable."  Read the full story here and watch an introductory video below.

Gally Freshman

This year's freshman class at Gallaudet University are a diverse group. Here's a breakdown as to where they come from:

  • 29 are from California 
  • 25 are from Maryland 
  • 18 are from Virginia 
  • 12 are from Canada 
  • 5 are from China 

Read more at the Washington Post on how the numbers compare to other schools in the DC area.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bison lose to Husson

Gallaudet's football team lost its third game of the season to Husson over the weekend. The Bison are now 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference. The win puts the Bangor, Maine school atop the conference with a record of 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Remembering Paul Miller

You may not know the name Paul Miller, but you know his work. He became a leader in the enforcement of ADA law. He graduated at the top of his class from Harvard Law School and yet he couldn't get a job because he was born with a form of dwarfism. He served as an advisor to President Clinton and President Obama. Paul Miller died on this day, Oct 19, 2010 at the age of 49 from cancer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Transcense App

The makers of a new app called Transcense say it can accurately translate in real time so the deaf and hard of hearing can take part in conversations with the hearing who do not know sign. While the app is being tested and is not yet available, the trio who created it are trying to raise funds through an Indiegogo campaign which you can see here. The guys behind the app include Thibault Duchemin, Pieter Doevendans and Skinner Cheng. Duchemin is a CODA and Cheng has been deaf he was a toddler.There's more information at the Transcense website here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Traffic Stop Tips

KOTV in Oklahoma has produced a video offering some tips for police when they stop deaf drivers and tip for deaf drives who are stopped by law enforcement. - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Monday, October 13, 2014

EEOC Looking for Witnesses for FedEx Lawsuit

Over the weekend we told you about a lawsuit filed against FedEx for it's treatment of deaf workers. The EEOC, which filed the suit, is now looking for potential witnesses to the company's failure to provide reasonable accommodations. Find out more and see an ASL video here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fake Lottery Email Targets Deaf

Scammers will try to make people believe they have won a jackpot from the USA Deaf Lottery--but there is no such thing. WWBT-TV in Richmond has a video report about the phony email. Captioning available.

NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

FedEx Sued for Discrimination

FedEx has discriminated against deaf workers and the deaf who have applied for jobs for years, according to the EECO. While FedEx Ground hired a number of deaf employees as package handlers, FedEx has not offered adequate accommodations, according to a lawsuit filed in Maryland by the EEOC. The suit claims there are no training videos with ASL or captioning, no tour, orientation, or staff meetings with interpreters present for new employees. FedEx is responding to the complaint by saying it has fair and equal treatment for all of its employees and that these claims are misleading. This suit is the result of 19 charges filed with the EEOC across the country. EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Maria Luisa Morocco said, "The law is clear: Employers have to provide reasonable accommodations to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing job applicants and employees are afforded equal employment opportunities--which includes the full benefits and privileges of employment, such as being informed of performance expectations and safety requirements." See the EEOC information here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hit for Deaf Theatre

Deaf West Theatre has a hit on its hands with its new production, says public radio's KPCC. The Los Angeles radio station takes a look at Sring Awakening, being peformed at Deaf West Theater in an article here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TV captioning facts

  • TV stations and cable and satellite operators have been required to have closed-captioning since 1998.
  • Stations much provide 1350 hours of captioned programming each quarter. That works out to about 16 hours a day.
  • Captioning pre-recorded shows runs between $400 and $1000 per half-hour. Live programming can cost 5 times that amount.
  • There are only about 400 people nationwide work as broadcast captioners.
  • It’s a projected that 1,000 to 3,000 more captioners will be needed in the next few years
  • Captioners earn about $50 to $75 an hour.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The history of Japanese Sign

The first Japanese school for the blind and deaf was established in 1878 in Kyoto. Teachers used sign language for instruction. Thereafter, a number of organizations were set up around the country for the deaf and for those wishing to learn the language. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf in Tokyo eventually published a lexicon in 1969 called Watashitachi no Shuwa (Our Sign Language), the first attempt to catalog common sign language expressions used nationwide.

Getting to know... BSL

British Sign Language or BSL is used by most signers in the UK - a group numbering between 50 and 70,000 people. The earliest British account of signing dates back to a wedding in 1575, where the groom used signs during the ceremony. Samuel Pepys's account of the great fire of London in 1666 refers to a 'dumb' boy who describes the fire using "strange signs". This 'home signing', as it is known, was an ad hoc gesturing system developed by deaf children which would not have been passed down generations or across deaf communities. In 1760, Edinburgh teacher Thomas Braidwood started Braidwood's Academy for the Deaf and Dumb which is considered the first school for the deaf in Britain. The sign language he used later became British Sign Language.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oral program gets funds

Southern Miss is getting more than a million dollars for its training program for teachers of the deaf. The five year Education Department grant will provide full-tuition scholarships to 40 people who want to earn a master's degrees focused on oral intervention--instead of teaching sign language, the program tries to get children to attempt spoken English. Read more about the grant here.

More than a Super Bowl Champ

The parents of the NFL's only current deaf player says they always knew their son was destined for great things. They tell KCAL-TV, “He’s not just a Super Bowl champion.. he’s a representative of our family.” Watch the full video report below.

Origins of Formal Sign Language?

Sign language as we know it today formally began in the mid-18th century when two deaf teachers developed a system for spelling out French words with a manual alphabet which became French Sign Language (FSL). Thomas Gallaudet brought FSL to the US in 1816. He founded the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. The new sign language was combined with what was already being used to make American Sign Language (ASL). It’s the 4th most common language in the US today.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Deaf-Blind center opening in Iowa

Charles City, Iowa is preparing to become the first regional site for deaf and blind students. KIMT-TV has a video report.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rules Change for Deaf Truck Drivers

Deaf truck drivers will no longer be prevented from driving interstate rigs if they cannot speak English. That decision comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A post in the October 1 Federal Register says they will be excepted from the rule if the driver can read and write English. You can read the guidance here.

Balloonists at School for Deaf

Image from KOAT-TV video report
Albuquerque Aloft kicked off the city's Ballon Fiesta this week. One of the crews gave some deaf pre-schoolers a lesson on ballooning. KOAT-TV has a video report here.

Bus Driver "forgets" Kindergartener

A deaf girl was still strapped in her seat on the bus when the driver was through with his route this past Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. Kaleigh Foster was forgotten. WTTE-TV has a video report.

MSS v ASL in Amarillo, Texas

A Texas school district is not teaching its students ASL but the Morphemic Sign System (MSS) system. This has many ASL users up in arms since the system isn't being used elsewhere. The Amarillo School District says it picked MSS because to promote literacy. KVII‑TV has a video report posted below. No captions, but you can read the text of the report here. (This post has been updated to reflect the difference between MMS and Exact Sign).

First ordained deaf person

It was on this date (Oct 14) in 1884 that 38-year-old Henry Winter Syle became the first deaf person to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the first to to be ordained in any protestant denomination. Born to Missionary parents in Shanghai, China, Syle lost hearing at an early age to a scarlet fever infection. He was a student of Thomas Gallaudet who attended Connecticut's Trinity College, St. John's College in Cambridge, and Yale. . Syle began a congregation for the deaf four years later (1888) which he lead until his death in 1890, just two years later at the age of 44.

Network TV show captioning Mixup

CBS is looking into how someone possibly hacked into its closed captioning. The first seven minutes of last night's episode of Blue Bloods contained profanity and other sounds unrelated to the TV show. The captioning is believed to have been from another program--the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, according to the Dayton Daily News.

Gally Takes Action

image from Chronicle of Higher Ed video
Gallaudet University recently made news when it was determined that it had the highest rate of reported sexual assaults in the country, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. Find out how the school is using a grant from the Department of Justice to train both students and staff members as to how to address sexual misconduct in a video here

Friday, October 3, 2014

On this date in history

It was on Oct. 3, 1852 that Rev. Thomas Gallaudet (the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet) started a deaf congregation, which grew into the St. Ann's Church for the Deaf in New York, the first deaf church in the U.S.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Getting to Know... Nurse Ratched

Louise Fletcher is best known for her role as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The film won 5 Academy Awards. Fletcher took home one of those statues for Best Actress. What you may not know is that the parents of the now 78-year-old actress are both deaf. The second of four children, she grew up on Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, Robert Fletcher, served the deaf community as an Episcopal priest. He started dozens of churches for the deaf in Alabama. None of his children had any hearing loss.  Fletcher never forgot her roots. While filming One Flew Over, Fletcher took time to visit students at the Oregon School for the Deaf.